Selena Gomez’s longtime friend Francia Raisa attended Gomez’s first Rare Impact Fund benefit last night and candidly addressed their friendship history during a red carpet interview.
Raisa donated one of her kidneys to Gomez in 2017 when she was in dire need of one due to her lupus condition. Fans speculated that Gomez and Raisa may have had a falling out after Raisa posted and deleted a shady comment following Gomez’s Rolling Stone interview last fall, where Gomez said Taylor Swift was her only friend “in the industry.”
Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa in 2017
In July this year, Raisa shut down feud rumors, telling paparazzi, “There’s no beef, guys.”
At the Rare Impact Benefit, Raisa explained to Extra that her and Gomez’s relationship, which started when they were teenagers, has had its ups and downs.
Raisa said she believed they met in 2008 “when I was on Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family at the time, she was on Wizards of Waverly Place. Disney had the stars of their shows come down to Children’s Hospital and visit all the kids. They put us all in groups, and she was in my group. She came up to me and was like, ‘My mom had a teenage pregnancy, she was 16, and we love your show.’ I was like, ‘Oh, my God, thank you! I love your show.’ And then we started talking, we both had boyfriends at the time, we started kiki-ing… And then around the time that my boyfriend and I broke up, and her and her boyfriend broke up, she called me and was like, ‘I’m going through some stuff. You’ve always been so nice to me. I’m going through a breakup.’ I was like, ‘Girl, me, too,’ and we were just inseparable after that ever since.”
Raisa said she didn’t anticipate their journey to evolve the way it did. “We trauma-bonded, which is beautiful, but also it can get rocky and tricky,” Raisa continued. “People grow, relationships change. But obviously, I treat her like my little sister, she treats me like her older sister. I don’t know any relationship that’s perfect. They all go through things. So when our situation came up [with me donating her one of my kidneys], I mean, no, I never pictured that, but obviously I never regretted it. I am happy that we are here today, celebrating and supporting each other.”
Raisa added that she and Gomez have both changed a lot too. “I am a different person today than I was last year or even when I turned 30,” she said. “I’m 35 now. Even when Selena turned 30, I’m like, ‘It’s different, isn’t it?’ and she was like, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Welcome to your 30s. Now we can get to know each other again.”
“Sometimes I feel people need to spend time apart to grow individually and then come back together. I think that’s what relationships are about,” Raisa added. She and Gomez “had to almost go on our own journey and grow,” she continued, “and now I am really happy in my career now and my endeavor. I don’t know if I would be able to do that if I didn’t really take some time for myself and figure out what the hell was going on with me, because I wasn’t okay.”
Raisa clarified that her personal struggle was rooted in her childhood, not in her donating a kidney to Gomez. “I am okay now, and just for the record, it had nothing to do with the kidney because I don’t want any clickbait,” she said. “It had nothing to do with that. I went through a lot in my childhood and I’ll be talking about it very soon about exactly what happened. She has been such a huge support through all of that.”
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Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.